What is a Civil Wedding?

florish_dodfordmanorDodford Manor is one of the top UK wedding locations and able to hold both civil weddings and civil partnerships, within the licenced Mortain Barn. We are often asked what is a civil wedding, this is another term for a civil ceremony; a legally approved marriage ceremony that does not contain religious elements.

Your civil wedding is a unique and momentous event and you are able to create a very poignant and personalised ceremony for your marriage.  From personalised promises to each other, to beautiful readings and speeches, your civil wedding within our 300 year old threshing barn, is the making of your very own history together.  The Northamptonshire Registration Services are the experts with tremendous knowledge and also have lovely suggestions, ideas, readings and can advise very closely on how your ceremony is planned and conducted.



Whether your civil ceremony is formal or more lighthearted, either way the Mortain Barn is a perfect wedding setting with its stunning ironstone walls, oak beams and natural light and lends an air of solemnity and peace in which you can make your committment to each other!  Surrounded by beautiful natural materials, the civil ceremony barn is very much a blank canvass, that looks handsome with no decoration or can dressed to be more striking (see Plan My Wedding).

Your ceremony is not complete without music and you can create a really touching atmosphere with live performances from string quartets, trios or duos,  classic guitar or harpist, or vocal arrangments.  Alternatively create a playlist on an Ipod or MP3 device and we will ensure the right tracks are played at the right times, through Mortain Barn’s surround sound system.  There are more details about this in our Plan My Wedding section.

Civil Ceremonies typically last around half an hour however may vary depending on the format for your civil ceremony, readings and music.  You will need to bring at least two other people to the ceremony who are prepared to witness the marriage and sign the marriage register.

How do I book my civil ceremony?

Once you have provisionally booked your wedding date with us, we encourage you to make contact with the Northamptonshire Registration Services directly to book your civil ceremony date and time.

The most efficient way is by completing the online booking form.  This requests basic perosnal information and contact details and more specifically the date you are seeking to hold your civil cermeony and three separate desired times for your civil ceremony to commence.  For advice and help on deciding your civil ceremony times please see our Wedding Day Timings page however in general a civil ceremony can be held across a wide range of times and still leave plenty of wedding day for the subsequent wedding reception and evening celebration!  In outline terms any time between 1230 and 1600 parameters works well, with an ideal time of 1330-1430.  We have however hosted wonderful wedding days with the civil ceremony time being even further outside the parameters (some winter ceremonies with Christmas trees a sparkling, lots of candles and twinkly lights can be tremendously atmospheric and really quite magical!).

On submitting your Northamptonshire Registration Services online booking form, you should hear back from them within 3 days but if not give them a call on 0300 1261000 (option 3).  They can provisionally allocate you your date and time (out to two years) and then confirm with you at the 12 month point once you are able to book your appointment to give notice of marriage.  You ‘Give Notice’ at your own local registrars and can do so starting 12 month prior to your big day.  The Northamptonshire Registrar has to receive an ‘authority’ for your marriage to be able to conduct the ceremony, which can only be obtained by giving a notice of marriage, so giving notice locally is very important!

You can find all of the information you need on Northamptonshire Registration Service’s FAQ’s page and for further information on fees, please click here